The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland and Global Convener of Oodua Progressive Union, Iba Gani Adams, has formally launched OPU Canada.
The event, which was held in Toronto, had in attendance Nigerians who are core professionals in the country.
Before the event, Aare Adams has visited the Nigerian High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, where he was received by A. Atodo and other other Embassy officials.
Oba Yisa Olanipekun, Zaki of Arigidi Akoko, was also at the event alongside Oba Adetona Victor, Owa of Ogbagi kingdom of Ondo State, and Joy Akinmoladun, Head of Chancery and the representative of the Ambassador.
“It is with great honour and delight that I welcome you all to the inaugural ceremony of the Canada chapter of the Oodua Progressive Union. Today’s event is a fulfillment of the dream to expand the frontiers of our group to Canada and the rest of the world,” Adams said while delivering his inaugural speech.
He added: “The last inauguration was held in Dubai, and it was a big success.
“Our experience in Dubai was interesting and I hope we shall all have an exciting experience also here in Canada.
“I have prepared this speech with two reasons in mind.
“First, as we progress from one country to another, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all members of the OPU in all the 83 countries across the world.”
While delivering her welcome address, the OPU Canada Coordinator, Funmi Olumade, stated that having OPU Canada was an opportunity to converge Yoruba sons and daughters to promote the Yoruba culture, which she posited must not go into extinction.
Olumade said: “The launching of the Oodua Progressives Union (OPU Canada) is a platform for Yorubas in Diaspora to support one another, promote our cultural heritage in diaspora.
“Also give back to Southwestern Nigeria in form of human resources, as well as enhance effective transfer of technology from Canada to Nigeria, while we keep our cultural heritage alive in Canada through engagement of Yoruba Youths in Canada, collaborating with other socio-cultural Associations as well as other Canadian bodies.
“We are blessed to be part of this multicultural country called Canada. Sons and Daughters of Oodua in Canada and Diaspora are the cultural ambassadors of Yoruba race and we will continue to promote our cultural heritage at all times, whenever there is opportunity to showcase our culture through forum, mode of dressing and behaviours and impart all these in our youth.
“A tree cannot make a forest and a river that fails to absorb other water will never be full. To all of our special guests, our sponsors, ladies and gentlemen, I am taking this launching of OPU Canada to solicit your financial support towards the realization of all our noble projects and promise to continue to work with our Nigerian Canadian community to jointly promote the positive image of our community and take us to the next level.’
Aare Gani Adams stated further: “Efforts should be made to project the country positively to the world. We need to tell the Nigerian story to the rest of the world. And in doing this, we all have a role to play in making this dream a reality.
“The journey to inaugurate the first chapter of the Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) began in Britain in 2011; beginning with India in November 2012. That was how it all began seven years ago, with South Africa being our last point of call. Today we are in Canada, one of the most successful countries in the world. The success displayed by Canada did not come so cheap; it is all about the enduring legacies of the founding fathers since its independence in July 1867.
“Canada is today the toast of many travelers because of the huge transformation in the country. The lasting structure in education, health, social security and infrastructure are the things that keep the nation far ahead of other North American countries. What we see today in Canada is not accidental, it was a sacrifice and calculated effort of the leaders, who believed strongly in changing the fortunes and narratives of the country positively. It was based on the fulfillment of the social contract between the leaders and the followers.”
Also, Iba Adams alongside other notable Canadians were honoured with International Leadership Award by Vigor International as well as Vigor Ambassador at Toronto Grand Banquet and Convention Center, Etobicoke, Toronto Canada.